Sally Clements talks Romance with HarperImpulse Editor Charlotte Ledger
As a romance writer, I’m always interested in new markets for romantic fiction, so I was delighted to catch up with Charlotte Ledger from HarperImpulse to find out more about this new romantic fiction imprint from the women’s fiction team at HarperCollins. I’m a member of a critique group, The Minxes of Romance, the nine members of which are all dedicated romance writers. One minx, Romy Sommer has been published by HarperImpulse, and a second Lorraine Wilson has a HarperImpulse release, Confessions of a Chalet Girl out at the end of June, so HarperImpulse is definitely on my radar. Another minx, Kat French, is published by HarperCollin’s Authonomy Imprint.
To kick off, I asked Charlotte how HarperImpulse had been received by the market. She told me: “We had a soft launch in early March, where we reached out to writers on Facebook and Twitter. We had 500 submissions in the first month.” A great response! It is early days for the imprint, but they eventually hope to release ten new books a month. HarperImpluse is a digital first publisher, and all books will later go to print via print on demand – their first five titles are by authors Aimee Duffy, Rae Rivers, Romy Sommer, Lorraine Wilson, and Charlotte Phillips.
The refreshing thing about HarperImpulse is that they are open to all types of romance, and judge book submissions on each book’s merits, so rather than having ‘set in stone’ guidelines for length, their emphasis is on providing stories that readers want, and that writers want to write. Charlotte said that in the current world, readers often read on mobile devices like cell phones, so HarperImpluse are open to shorter works for mobile content.
Charlotte told me that she’d like full manuscript submissions with a synopsis, and her advice about synopses was to focus on showcasing the novel’s voice in the synopsis, rather than to detail every little plot point. She also told me not to fret too much about the synopsis, she will read the manuscript submission and will be paying particular attention to the author’s voice. Submission guidelines are on their website here.
Romance writers will be pleased to hear that you don’t have to have an agent to submit a manuscript, or to have been previously published, and HarperImpulse are very keen to receive submissions from writers all over the world.
I quizzed Charlotte about the type of romances they’d like to see, and she told me that as well as being open to submissions of any length, they are interested in all heat levels, from sweet to erotic romance. We talked about genres, and she said, “We’ll publish Contemporary Romance, Paranormal, Erotic, Historial, Romantic Suspense, Chick Lit/Rom-com, Sagas – both historical and contemporary, New Adult, Young Adult, Lesbian/Gay, Women’s fiction, and Anthologies. Essentially, as long as the book can be classified as romance, HarperImpulse are interested.”
All the editors want their authors to be free to grow within the HarperImpulse environment, and to be free to try new genres, if they want to.
As HarperImpulse are a UK based publisher, I wondered if they would always do a UK edit, using UK English and terminology. Charlotte felt that this decision depended very much on the book – for a book set in America with American characters, they may use US English and terminology.
Kimberley Young is the Publishing Director of Women’s Fiction at HarperCollins and HarperImpulse, and both Kim and Charlotte will be at the RNA (Romantic Novelists Association) Conference this year, where they will be giving a presentation and also taking pitches. This will be a great opportunity to meet them – Charlotte advised authors to keep an eye on their Facebook, Twitter and blog page for more updates about this.
Indeed, I really like the fact that HarperImpulse are very active on social media, and connect with both readers and writers through Facebook and Twitter, which are elements I consider essential for a publisher to be strong on, in our digital world. I also like their flexibility and openness.
I asked Charlotte about promotion and what methods they are using to promote both their books and their authors – she revealed “the Romantic Times will be reviewing all HarperImpulse titles, and our books will be available on NetGalley for bloggers and book reviewers to review. We’ve already received a lot of interest from reviewers worldwide through NetGalley, including American Libraries.”
So why would an author choose to publish with HarperImpulse rather than self-publish a particular book? Charlotte felt that the choice between self-publishing or publishing with HarperImpulse is obviously only a call the author can make, but she said HarperImpulse “are passionate about romance, want the best authors, and have a wealth of expertise and understanding of the market. With the backing of HarperCollins, we have the facilities of HarperCollins at our fingertips, including great cover artists and publicity. All in all, it is a brilliant springboard to launch from.”
Conscious that new authors will be curious about the financial side of any deal, I couldn’t finish off without asking Charlotte about the money. She explained that, like their sister company in the US, Avon Impulse, HarperImpulse will not pay an advance on digital-first titles, but offers authors a 25% net royalty. After an eBook sells 10,000 net copies, the author’s royalty rate will rise to 50%.
HarperImpulse is a very interesting new player in the publishing marketplace – open to all types of romantic fiction submissions, and with a keen, passionate approach to finding new authors and producing romantic fiction of all types for the reader of today. You can find out more at their website harperimpluseromance.com and as I mentioned before, they have a strong social media presence – you can find them on Facebook or Twitter.
Charlotte is also on Twitter: https://twitter.com/girl_on_a_ledge
(c) Sally Clements
Her eighth book, Runaway Groom ( for Amazon.co.uk click here) has just been released and is available on Amazon and also in paperback. She’s a voracious reader, and considers writing for a living the perfect job—the only downside is saying goodbye to her characters at book’s end!